CFP Sunbelt SNA session challenges in archaeological network science

sunbeltI have attended the Sunbelt Social Network Analysis conference only once, in Hamburg two years ago. But it was a brilliant experience and so different from archaeological conferences (and not just because of the traditional two evenings of unlimited open bar). The conference is attended by mainly sociologists and statisticians with a good proportion of mathematicians, computer scientists and physicists. In the last few years there have been annual historical and archaeological network science sessions. So the number of historians and archaeologists attending the event are increasing. I can definitely recommend attending Sunbelt, and of course you should present in our session 🙂

I would like to bring the session ‘Challenges in Archaeological Network Science’ to your attention. The session will be held at the Sunbelt Social Network Analysis conference in Brighton on 23-28 June 2015. We welcome all abstracts that address the challenges mentioned in the session abstract below.

The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2015. Please visit the Sunbelt website for more information and to submit an abstract: http://insna.org/sunbelt2015/?page_id=607

Please ensure to select the session ‘Challenges in Archaeological Network Science’ during the submission process. Feel free to notify us if you decide to submit an abstract.

We look forward to meeting you in Brighton,

Termeh Shafie and Tom Brughmans

ABSTRACT

Challenges in Archaeological Network Science

The application of network analysis in archaeology has only become more common in the last decade, despite a number of pioneering studies in the 1960s and 70s. The use of different techniques for the analysis and visualisation of network data has already led to new insights into past human behaviour. However, this renewed interest in network science is also accompanied by an increasing awareness of a number of methodological challenges that archaeological network scientists are faced with. These include, but are not limited to the following:

– How to deal with spurious data?

Sampling strategies in archaeology are often dominated by the geopolitical and financial constraints of excavation campaigns. Moreover, differences in the preservation of different materials provide a very fragmented picture of past human behaviour. As a result, networks constructed from archaeological data can be very sparse with apparent uncertainties.

– How to introduce more complex assumptions concerning tie dependency in the reconstruction of archaeological networks?

Network modelling is based on hypotheses from archaeological theory which in turn is based on archaeological evidence. A major challenge is how to infer the structure of an archaeological network given a set of assumptions regulating the occurrence of ties.

– How to deal with the poor chronological control of archaeological data?

The contemporaneity of observations and the exact sequence of events are often uncertain. This is problematic for network science techniques that assume node contemporaneity or require knowledge of the order of events.

– How to consider complex socio-spatial phenomena?

Archaeologists commonly study the spatial distribution of their data and evaluate to what extent spatial constraints influenced human behaviour. A limited number of spatial network techniques are currently available and many of these are not or hardly applicable in archaeology (e.g. network analysis of road networks).

This session invites papers that address these or other methodological challenges that network scientists in archaeology are faced with.

This session is organized by and will be chaired by:

Termeh Shafie, Termeh.Shafie@uni-konstanz.de, Department of Computer & Information Science, University of Konstanz.

Tom Brughmans, Tom.Brughmans@uni-konstanz.de, Department of Computer & Information Science, University of Konstanz.

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